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Dublin: 18 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Valentia Island site of first transatlantic message up for sale

“The Telegraph Field” with picturesque views of Foilhommerum Bay and the Skellig rocks is available under a guide price of €160,000 with ruins of the 150-year-old cable house still remaining.

A PIECE OF global communications history is up for grabs on Valentia Island off the Co. Kerry coast with the sale of the site from where the first successful transatlantic message was sent in 1866.

‘The Telegraph Field’ with picturesque views of Foilhommerum Bay and the Skellig rocks is available under a guide price of €160,000 with ruins of the 150-year-old cable house still remaining.

The sale of the site is being handled by real estate agents Savills who say that the site could make an ideal location for a cultural centre as a result of its global significance.

(Aerial photo of the field, ruins and Foilhomurrum Bay. Source

Brunel’s Great Eastern steamship carried the transatlantic cable 2,300 nautical miles between to the corresponding site on the other side of the Atlantic in Newfoundland in Canada.

The old and new worlds synced in communication in July 1866 and New York’s Broadway was lit up by fireworks in celebration and the occasion is commemorated on the dome of the rotunda in Capitol Hill, Washington DC, amongst five other momentous historical events.

(Telegraph field showing ruins of 150-year-old cable house. Source: Savills)

The Telegraph Field has also been known as the the ‘The Longitude Field’ because before the cable was laid there was uncertainty with regard to the exact longitudinal position of America in relation to Europe but a US Coast Survey which set up a temporary observatory near the site corrected the problem.

(Early global telegraph communications showing the Valentia Island-Newfoundland cable . Source

The owner of the site Junior Browne originally bought the site intending to build on it but after finding out its history he instead spent a decade researching its history with his son:

We bought the site intending to build a holiday home in a stunning setting but as we uncovered the historic significance of the site we abandoned these plans. We have since funded a documentary and progressed plans for a visitor’s centre, a museum and a global IT learning centre.

Browne says there is worldwide interest in the site and that it is time for others to take on the task of conducting further research and continue the work he began:

We have had support from the national tourist agency, global corporations like Morgan Stanley and even the Smithsonian Museum, which has long recognised the importance of the transatlantic cable, but we have taken the project as far as we can.

Read: Hidden Ireland: The air raid shelter under a Dublin clothing store >

Pics: Here’s what posh Irish toilets looked like 700 years ago >

Pics: 17 stunning photos of Cork and Kerry as you’ve (probably) never seen them >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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